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Press Release - Dec 99
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We normally would forward this press release to our affiliate HomeToys but we felt that the announcement of this commercially available residential electronic gateway which is able to monitor and control multiple utility services into the home is news that should be shared with AutomatedBuilding.com readers.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SmartAMERICA Parent/Development Partner IHG Debuts First Commercially Available Intelligent Home Gateway

SCOTTS VALLEY, California, November 18 -- SmartAMERICA Development Corporation parent and development partner IHG Limited, Fremantle (Australia), has introduced the world's first commercially available residential electronic gateway able to monitor and control multiple utility services into the home, it was announced by SmartAMERICA President/CEO Dennis A. Murray.

The new product is designated the Intelligent Home Gateway, and sales efforts initially will address the Australia-New Zealand and Southeast Asia markets, where IHG has established a dominant presence with its home automation controller devices both among consumers and among home electronics installers and dealers.

According to Murray, the innovative device will become available in American markets during Q1, 2000. He noted that the Cahners In-Stat Group has predicted USA residential gateway market growth from US$200 million in 2000 to US$2.5 billion in 2003.

"The global markets recognize that gateway technology is where the future lies for integrated telecommunications and utility services," he said. "Recently the technology news service CNet News predicted that 'the residential gateway will be as common in the home as refrigerators and ovens'."

IHG currently sees the primary Intelligent Home Gateway market to be the utilities industries and other household services suppliers that can benefit from the smart gateway's ability to monitor and profile usage within the house, enabling more positive demand/supply controls, as well as to accumulate consumption data for billing purposes.

"The Intelligent Home Gateway offers utilities and related suppliers, including gas, power, telephone, security management, Pay-TV and water companies the means to increase the efficiency of product delivery to customers' homes, meanwhile providing a range of profit-making services," said IHG Executive Chairman Rob Rohrlach in launching the product at the International Transmission and Distribution Conference and Exhibition in Brisbane earlier this month.

"It is the electronic 'black box' at the end of the telephone, broad band cable, satellite service or power lines in the modern home which has been designed specifically to give utilities easy and cost-effective access to homes."

Key features of the gateway have been the subject of comprehensive trials in various utilities over the past 18 months, and it provided the access to the home for the Telstra demonstration of the "Internet Fridge"-a home appliance networking demonstration that uses the Internet and Wireless Application Protocol -- in July.

Where it is occurring, both in Australia and in the United States, deregulation has been a major step in the evolutionary process for power companies, driving a quest for more competitive service provision technologies, Rohrlach noted.

"Since customers will be able to choose their electricity supplier from any provider, efficiency and customer loyalty are more important components for commercial success than ever," he said. "The Intelligent Home Gateway is revolutionary technology that allows new and existing homes to be energy efficient without the need for special wiring."

Among the competitive advantages that can be derived from Intelligent Home Gateway installations are cost-effective delivery of telecommunications service; accurate automatic remote meter reading; and automatic shifting of non-essential electricity use to off-peak tariffs, producing savings for power company and consumer and reducing the generation of greenhouse gases.

"While the power industry is the Intelligent Home Gateway's most obvious immediate application, its scope extends well beyond electricity into the entire range of utilities and home services providers," Rohrlach said. "In fact, at the broader community level, the networking capabilities of the Gateway have major implications for the future of tele-education and training, tele-medicine and community policing."

SmartAMERICA Development Corporation is an independent operating subsidiary of IHG Limited, a publicly held firm based in Fremantle, Australia, and a sister firm of The Smart Company Pty. Ltd., known for its internationally popular "Jeeves" home automation control system -- a Home Automation Association Award of Excellence winner. For further information contact David Hurley, SmartAMERICA Development Corp., 125 Bethany Drive, Scotts Valley, CA 94066; telephone 831 466 9999; fax 831 439 5585; email, dmurray@smart-america.com; or visit www.smart-america.com, on the web.

CONTACTS: Dennis Murray 831 466 9999; Victor Wortman (Agcy) 310 393 6281

In Australia: Rob Rohrlach, Executive Chairman, IHG Limited, Phone: 08 9336 8878
www.ihg.com for background.


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